Cultivating Future Leaders: Granville Students Attend the WSWHE BOCES Student Leadership Conference
Six Granville High School students – Carson Hall, Gracie Hall, RJ Monger, Rhye Moore, Jaxon Torres, and Peighton Wilson – attended the recent WSWHE BOCES Student Leadership Conference. They joined over 190 students from 27 districts at the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark in Lake George for the event, which was wholly planned and led by students. RJ, Jaxon, Gracie, and Peighton were part of the 25-member student planning committee!
"We gave the students a few parameters to work within, but then they were free to plan the event the way they wanted," said Coordinator for School Improvement for WSWHE BOCES Amanda Bergin.
Teachers recommended students for the committee based on leadership skills, academic excellence, and being positive role models for their peers. Informal planning for the conference began in May, and formal meetings started in October.
"Members of the committee decided on and planned everything, including the guest speaker, ice breaker activities, large group activities, how students were assigned to tables, and even the music that played. The adults were really there for transportation and logistics purposes. It was pretty amazing to watch the students do all of this," said Granville Jr/Sr High School Counselor Elisha Mittleman.
This year's conference theme was "Take Action for Satisfaction," and the keynote speaker was Brandon Lee White. Mr. White is an author, speaker, and youth mover. He spoke about having a clear vision of who you are, what you want, and how hard you're willing to work. He shared his struggles, including mental health and bullying, and then pointed to the leaders and decisions that turned it all around. Students took away a new sense of ownership in life and the motivation to make it happen.
The planning committee deliberately organized the table seating to encourage students to step out of their comfort zones and work alongside peers from different districts. Engaging activities such as "Find a Friend Who," "Would You Rather," "Headbandz," "Riddle Me Please," and even a paper airplane contest were carefully selected for their emphasis on team-building, collaboration, and problem-solving skills.
"Each student who attended benefitted from connecting with students from across the region. This is especially valuable for students from rural districts like Granville. The kids had a ton of fun, they learned something from the guest speaker and were pushed outside of their comfort zone as they interacted with new people from all over our area," said Miss Mittleman.
Students left the conference with new perspectives and ideas they can use now and in the future.
"One thing that stuck with me was the concept of "climb your hill" or, in other words, don't give up. I also realized that I have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable," said Jaxon.
The conference was a valuable experience for every student who attended. They learned and practiced essential leadership skills, gained insights into others, and discovered more about themselves.